- President Trump’s trial began in the Senate on January 16, roughly a month after the House passed two articles of impeachment – but chose to hang onto them in an effort to negotiate for more witnesses.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell never budged, and the Republican majority voted to bar new evidence and witnesses from the trial on January 31, signaling and swift end to the proceedings.
- As expected, on February 5, Trump was acquitted on both impeachment articles. The votes throughout the trial remained entirely partisan, with only Mitt Romney crossing party lines on the “abuse of power” charge against the President.
Sometimes spoilers can be a good thing. Most of the time, they’re infuriating – like when Sam Shiekhan yelled, “Bruce Willis is dead the whole time!” at our Summer traveling basketball team’s crowded lunch table the week The Sixth Sense came out.
But, when it comes to politics – or anything on which you can wager, really – spoilers should be celebrated. Well, I’ve been trying to spoil what a disaster Donald Trump’s impeachment would be since before the public hearings in the House.
- Impeachment is Going to Blow Up in Democrats’ Faces
- Sleeper Pick – Betting on a Hillary Clinton Impeachment Conspiracy
- Donald Trump Becomes Heavier Betting Favorite After Impeachment
- Pelosi is Sending the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate this Week
- Hate to Say, “I Told You So!” – No New Impeachment Witnesses
And while I relish revisiting old Twitter back-and-forths to jab my sparring partners with a late, “I told you so;” it’s disappointing – if not terrifying — watching everyone follow Nancy Pelosi and neoliberal pundits from one humiliating political defeat to another. All without ever learning to stop trusting these people.
I’ve been promising since at least November that a Senate impeachment trial would do nothing but bolster Donald Trump’s chances of winning reelection. Days after being acquitted, the President is enjoying his highest approval ratings since entering office, and is solidifying his position as the betting favorite for the 2020 general elections, with lines ranging from –160 to –300 at online political betting sites.
Hell, in a few of those old articles, I constructed elaborate conspiracy theories to try and create scenarios in which the decisions that Congressional Democrats made might be worthy of lifelong politicians and big-money-strategists. What was the central goal they meant to accomplish by impeaching Trump – and subsequently delivering the articles to the Senate (once they passed the articles, I thought the House should have held them indefinitely).
The impeachment hearings didn’t budge Trump’s approval ratings with Republicans and Independents; none of the Republicans in the Senate were going to forfeit their next reelection effort by voting against party lines.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi – Strategic Genius, DNC Hero
You’ve got to give it to Nancy Pelosi; when it comes to “playing the game” and creating flashy headlines, there’s not a single better strategist on “the hill.” She’s a master of performance in the realm of political theater — of generating positive attention that doesn’t “cost” anything.
That’s how the Speaker of the House is emerging from this monumental impeachment failure some kind of liberal hero – a noble leader of “the resistance.” Most recently, Pelosi demonstrated her brilliance at duping dummies after the State of the Union address – but her tearing a copy of the speech was just the latest in a string of performative masterpieces throughout the impeachment process.
Previously, I suspected the impeachment trial was more about grounding Bernie Sanders in Washington DC – off the campaign trail – during the crucial weeks before Iowa than removing Trump from office. The break did give Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden a bit more time to canvas the first state, but the trial was too short to do significant damage to Sanders, Warren, or Klobuchar.
That’s the only plan I could imagine that makes the Democrats’ impeachment tactics seem intelligent. They really did think Mitch McConnell was going to bend in negotiations to allow new witnesses despite possessing all the leverage? Then testimony from a war hawk like John Bolton was going to move 22 Republican Senators to the point of committing career suicide, so the Senate would have the supermajority required to remove the President?
How delusional are these people?! I guess it shouldn’t surprise me; these are the same think tanks and strategists who lost a Presidential election to a reality TV host who frequently flaunts his immense wealth, running on a populist message.
My favorite enduring theme was how “solemn” and “serious” and “reluctant” the Democratic members of Congress all played at times.
One of the funniest moments happened while the House passed the two articles of impeachment. They almost maintained their “somber” portrayal till the end, before a handful of Democrats broke and nearly erupted in applause, earning the clappers a sharp “death glare” from Speaker Pelosi,” and reminding the elated elected officials to snap back into character.
The day impeachment passed, however, paled in comparison to the spectacle surrounding the delivery of those articles to the Senate, roughly one month later. Pelosi had golden commemorative pens produced marking the occasion – one for each of the House managers. The ritualistic signing returned to the same “heavy,” if not reluctant, vibe from before.
Then, with the seriousness of a funeral procession, the Speaker and her handpicked House managers slowly marched the articles of impeachment over to the upper chamber.
What Nancy Pelosi doesn’t mention is how frequently she enables Donald Trump, when she’s not clapping sarcastically, ripping up copies of speeches, or engaging in strange ceremonial gloom-marches.
They agree on American intervention in Venezuela; she signed the President’s trade deal with Canada and Mexico; the Speaker helped pass the budget that gave Trump his “ space force,” including extra tens-of-billions of dollars; and she signed the revised Patriot Act and NDAA, which gave the person she’s “resisting,” extensive spying powers.
Why would you give “the most dangerous threat to our democracy in our times” the most expensive military budget in US history and unlimited domestic spying capabilities? Resisting that sort of thing seems infinitely more meaningful than a pre-planned paper tearing.
Mitch McConnell Shuts Democrats Down
Throughout the impeachment proceedings, Mitch McConnell did what Mitch McConnell does – maximized his positional leverage along partisan lines. This extraordinarily predictable thing blindsided numerous Democratic Washington DC veterans. What the Majority Leader did, blocking the House managers from introducing new witness testimonies and evidence, is being decried as nothing short of a “cover-up” by Senate Republicans.
The Adam Schiff’s, Nancy Pelosi’s, and Chuck Schumer’s of the world are beside themselves that GOP Senators could argue that if the House’s evidence was sufficient enough to impeach Trump in the first place, it should be strong enough for the trial. They couldn’t fathom Sen. McConnell whipping the necessary votes to continually shut the Dems out of the rule-setting process.
Washington DC Secretly Loves Trump
In reality, Mitch McConnell is probably the most powerful Republican in the country right now. Can you imagine the things he’s getting away with while the world focuses on Donald Trump?
A lot has been made of Donald Trump’s “takeover” of the Republican Party – how he took down every establishment member of the GOP in his path in 2016 – Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, etc. — gradually bending them to his will.
The reality on the ground is probably closer to what happened in the George W administration, where it was Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, and the rest of the old “Iran-Contra” buddies running the show and using Bush as a diversionary shield.
Liberal Media Loves Trump
It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the Democrats and media pundits are taking a similar approach. Anger, outrage, and the buzz of “resistance” are ratings-grabbers. Do you think those affluent liberal networks making a fortune off of covering Trump 24-hours a day really want him removed from office? That would be devastating to their bottom line; it’s all performative.
You can tell they only want the illusion of resistance by the way the President is covered. When the media wants to undermine someone, they make them invisible. CNN arbitrarily gives Democratic candidates with lower poll numbers and donor totals a live town hall, but not Tulsi Gabbard. They turn Andrew Yang’s mic off in the middle of a debate. The media erased a GOP frontrunner like Ron Paul in 2011.
The Democratic Party Loves Trump
And just like those cable network owners and hired pundits, veteran members of Congress are wealthy individuals who personally gain from having a President Trump. Just like the Republicans, Donald gives the Democrats cover – they can get away with ignoring their working-class constituents and be applauded for ripping up a speech or sending a biting tweet at the White House.
That, — more than anything – tells us what this far-fetched impeachment debacle is all about. Everyone within the beltway, on both sides of the aisle, is benefiting by using Donald Trump as a distraction. While the President golfs, GOP power-players write up the bills Wall Street wants and relax “pesky” environmental regulations. “All you have to do is sign, Mr. President, and you’ll be able to brag about all-time great economic figures!”
Meanwhile, DNC members have the perfect foil. The President represents everything the affluent, liberal, politically-correct class claims to abhor – but only in terms of style. He allows them to score points with historically disenfranchised groups and minorities as “allies” without having to enact any meaningful change or keep less for themselves.
With Trump in office, authoritarians on the left can push through otherwise unpopular legislation by merely framing them as anti-Trump or anti-foreign-interference. We’ve already seen a notable push towards increased censorship online since 2016.
Betting on Donald Trump After His Acquittal
If the wealthiest Americans, biggest corporations, and his so-called “resistance” are all benefitting mightily from Donald Trump’s presidency, how could you bet against him in 2020? Since his acquittal, the President has enjoyed his highest approval ratings since Inauguration Day.
All the neoliberals managed to do was inspire his base with feelings of righteous indignation over the perceived persecution of their democratically elected President. Now they’re locked-in like it’s 2016 all over again.
Democratic Class Divide
In 2016, Trump could run as an “outsider” with a somewhat populist message because the Democrats stopped being the party of the working class and unions and became nearly identical to the Republicans in every way, save for a handful of polarizing social issues and a greater focus on identity politics. When it comes to trade deals, foreign policy, bailing out banks, and allowing corporations to call the shots, they’re the same.
On the right, Trump keeps the working-classes happy by offending the limousine liberals in coastal states, who continuously turn their collective noses up at the interior of America. The wealthy Republicans are thrilled with their tax cuts and deregulation.
Affluent Democrats would prefer to focus on identity politics and other social issues that help them draw a contrast between the parties without pissing off campaign donors or costing themselves any money. These two groups are fighting it out in the primaries.
The thing is, the wealthy Dems have all the power and would much prefer Donald Trump in the White House over Bernie Sanders. They can’t let Bernie in — but, if they nominate anybody else, a substantial percentage of the Senator’s base will stay home, vote third-party, or pick Trump.
The DNC is in a stalemate. So, again, how can Donald Trump lose?